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RS400s at the Ullswater Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy

Photos by Pauline Thompson and Tim Olin.  More of Tim's photos available HERE.

The record 35 RS400s that entered this year's Lord Birkett Trophy, had the benefit of two events in one as once again the two long distance races along the length of Ullswater held over two days counted towards the RS400 Northern Tour sponsored by Rope4Boats, who marked the record entry with a raffle on Saturday evening.  More about that later.

The 35 RS400s joined the huge entry of 231 boats competing in event ranging from RS Fevas to VX Ones and a Cruiser fleet.

Light winds were forecast for the two days, and unfortunately on both days the forecast was right, with both races starting in drifting conditions, however, on both days as the race progressed along the length of the lake conditions changed and at times there was sufficient wind to ensure both sets of toe straps weren't unnecessary weight in the boat.  The hot weather and sunshine meant sun cream and water was essential.  I expect a few energy bars were consumed, but those that packed a chocolate bar were in for a messy surprise when unwrapped!

Race 1 on Saturday started with the fleet heading to the north end of the lake before rounding two marks and heading to the southern end before rounding a third mark and returning to the finish line.  After a general recall the 190 strong fleet got away, with the 700m long start line spanning the width of the lake.  Chris Pickles and Mark Lunn from Delph SC made the early running pursued by David Exley and Nigel Hall from Leigh and Lowton SC.  Stress levels were high from the off as at times you could only sit and watch the fleet on the opposite side take off (at a speed of a super charged snail) in more breeze, before they would hit the brakes whilst it was your turn to enjoy the exhilaration of a tiny zephyr.  At the first mark boats from both ends of the line merged in the leading pack.    As Pickles/Lunn and Exley/Hall led the RS400s, Stewart and Sarah Robertson from Royal Forth YC rounded next with Hamish Gledhill and Simon Dowse from West Riding SC in close pursuit.

As the fleet drifted up the lake, the Robertsons’ were the first to react to a freshening breeze and took the lead up the left side of the lake.  Exley/Hall followed suit with Pickles/Lunn and Gledhill/ Dowse battling up wind, to be joined by Mark Somerville and Joe Roberts from Bassenthwaite Sailing Club. As the fleet progressed back down the lake the Robertsons held their lead, whilst the fleet bunched up behind them, only for the cruellest of headers meaning they had to drop their spinnaker a few hundred yards from the finish line, allowing Exley/Hall through for the win and Gledhill/Dowse into second.  The Robertsons were third with Pickles/Lunn fourth and Somerville/Roberts fifth.  The five boats crossed the line within 30 seconds of each other, resulting in top ten places in the overall standings overnight.

The next day dawned with a familiar glassy lake.  After setting a course heading south, the OOD switched the course to head north with a repeat of the previous day’s course.  On the second attempt the fleet was off, and if the first day was stressful, this made day 1 look like a cosy cup of tea at Grandma’s.  Spinnakers went up and down, boats tacked and gybed and we hadn’t made it 50 yards along the course.  Some boats made it safely down the leg, but if you weren’t clear you’d get engulfed by the pack including large vessels carrying 100s of square metres of limp sail preventing the chances of any wind reaching a tiny RS400.

Barry Thornton and Nick Hunt from Scaling Dam SC kept the calmest heads and rounded the first marks with a good lead ahead of locals Jon and Nicola Abbatt from Ullswater Yacht Club.  Gledhill/Dowse rounded third ahead of Exley/Hall and the Robertsons.

Thornton and Hunt maintained their commanding lead to the top of the lake, which was now a beat, with enough wind to stretch your legs and start to fiddle with the kicker.  Gledhill/Dowse, Exley/Hall and the Abbatts fought all the way upwind to round in that order.  As the down wind leg unfolded the fleet once again bunched with Exley/Hall taking the lead in the last 100 yards.  Thornton/Hunt were second with Gledhill/Dowse third and the Robertsons coming through to fourth.  The results made Exley/Hall the Rs400 winners for the weekend, but they had to wait until the prize giving to find that they were crowned overall Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy Winners.  This is their fourth win of the trophy.  We wait with baited breath to hear how they enjoy their first prize, room for two at the luxury Sharrow Bay Hotel.

Rope4Boats, who are sponsoring the northern tour, generously ran a special raffle for the Saturday evening in recognition of the great RS400 turnout.  Prizes including tapered spinnaker sheets, a rigging kit and several vouchers were distributed amongst the winners, Jeremy Child from Scammonden, Lester Mulligan from Yorkshire Dales, Peter Dyer from Yorkshire Dales and Henry Barnes from Staunton Harold SC.

Hamish Gledhill

RS400 Rank Birket Rank Tally Fleet SailNo HelmName CrewName Club R1 R2 Total Nett
1 1st 190 RS 400 1460 EXLEY Dave Nige Hall Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club 4 8 12 12
2 3rd 164 RS 400 1407 GLEDHILL Hamish Simon Dowse West Riding 5 11 16 16
3 6th 99 RS 400 1437 THORNTON Barrie Nick Hunt Scaling Dam Sailiing Club 13 9 22 22
4 7th 212 RS 400 1463 ROBERTSON Stewart Sarah Robertson Royal Forth Yacht Club 6 18 24 24
5 9th 4 RS 400 1283 PICKLES Chris Mark Lunn   7 21 28 28
6 12th 9 RS 400 1467 RIDGWAY Paul Dawson Sandringham Yacht Club 16 22 38 38
7 13th 46 RS 400 1484 SOMERVILLE Mark Joe Roberts Bassenthwaite Sailing Club 8 32.5 40.5 40.5
8 26th 81 RS 400 1112 ABBATT Jon Nicola Abbatt Ullswater Yacht Club 54 20 74 74
9 38th 165 RS 400 1395 LEONARD Alex Ben Murrell Bass SC / Yorkshire Dales SC 29 59 88 88
10 41st 44 RS 400 595 WHITEHEAD Carl Carol Milner Filey Sailing Club 14 82 96 96
11 79th 168 RS 400 1155 HOLT Nick Derek Hill Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club 48 113 161 161
12 90th 146 RS 400 1277 TULLETT Graham Natasha Lister Royal Windermere Yacht Club 98 83 181 181
13 98th 21 RS 400 830 POSFORD Clive Andrew Davey Glossop Sailing Club 102 108 210 210
14 103rd 62 RS 400 1054 ROBINSON Philip Paul WIlson Filey Sailing Club 92 134 226 226
15 104th 185 RS 400 725 RIBY Jason Laura Bell South Shields Sailing Club 96 130 226 226
16 106th 70 RS 400 1073 ROGERS Jamie Neil McLaren   97 133 230 230
17 115th 53 RS 400 1024 KINDON Nick Paul Munro Staunton Harold Sailing Club 100 147 247 247
18 118th 220 RS 400 1265 DAVIES Colin TBC Aberdeen And Stonehaven Yacht Club 151 104 255 255
19 127th 187 RS 400 1454 HEISSIG Jon Nicky Griffin Llangorse SC 233.0 DNS 32.5 265.5 265.5
20 128th 175 RS 400 973 GEBHARD David jackie Tynemouth Sailing Club 233.0 DNS 35.5 268.5 268.5
21 131st 48 RS 400 550 LEIPER Murray Ceri Knapgate Carsington Sailing Club 114 159 273 273
22 133rd 15 RS 400 1233 VON POSERN Stephan Simon Edwards QMSC 119 157 276 276
23 135th 97 RS 400 1041 BARNES Henry Grahame Smith Staunton Harold Sailing Club 164 114 278 278
24 141st 192 RS 400 599 LECKIE Tom Gary Coop Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club 157 138 295 295
25 142nd 75 RS 400 1016 TOWER Richard Paul Hickman Carsington Sailing Club 156 140 296 296
26 148th 126 RS 400 534 MCCORMACK Neil Heather McCormack Scaling Dam Sailiing Club 163 144 307 307
27 165th 117 RS 400 750 TURRELL Ian TBC Scammonden Water Sailing Club 101 233.0 DNS 334 334
28 168th 119 RS 400 1319 ROBERTSON Ben Jenny Douglas Dalgety Bay 103 233.0 DNF 336 336
29 180th 224 RS 400 963 GEBHARD Joric Bethany Mary Tynemouth Sailing Club 233.0 DNS 137 370 370
30 186th 3 RS 400 1248 DYER Peter Laura Burrows Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club 233.0 DSQ 155 388 388
31 187th 24 RS 400 1133 MULLIGAN Lester Jez Ince Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club 155 233.0 DNS 388 388
32 189th 2 RS 400 1417 WINGROVE Steve Ashley Wingrove Porthpean SC 167 233.0 DNF 400 400
33 191st 45 RS 400 1282 HARRIES Clive Callum Escrit Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club 233.0 DNS 233.0 DNF 466 466
34 191st 31 RS 400 1157 MURRAY Phil Neil Schofield Tynemouth Sailing Club 233.0 DNF 233.0 DNS 466 466
35 191st 222 RS 400 924 WEBSTER Andrew Hannah Webster Ullswater Yacht Club 233.0 DNF 233.0 DNS 466 466
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